Author Archive

Lust or Gluttony — The Persistence of Puritans

June 8, 2013
Lust or Gluttony — The Persistence of Puritans

“Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” — H. L. Mencken, from A Book of Burlesques (1916). Historians, unlike satirists, say Puritans may have gotten a bum rap. Most “puritanical” in their New England incarnation, they might simply be said to be people who didn’t think the Reformation of the Church of England had […]

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Posted in America, Europe, Morality, Politics | 10 Comments »

When the Languages Have Been Confounded

May 11, 2013
When the Languages Have Been Confounded

In my living room, I have an oil painting of the grove in Palmyra where Mormonism’s First Vision occurred. It is a family heirloom painted by the wife of a well-known RLDS Seventy of my parents’ generation who befriended them when they retired to Independence. Since Joseph Smith is not shown in the picture, nor […]

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Posted in America, Church Policy, Community of Christ, Doctrine, Joseph Smith, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture | 30 Comments »

CofChrist News Beat: World/USA Conference After-Action Reports

April 26, 2013
CofChrist News Beat: World/USA Conference After-Action Reports

The headline is clear. Community of Christ will provide sacramental ordinances of marriage, commitment ceremonies, and ordination independent of sexual orientation in the USA. Specifically, after two days of discussion, the USA National Conference formally approved by a required 2/3rds majority the following recommendations to the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve: The 2013 USA […]

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Posted in America, Church Policy, Community of Christ, Doctrine, Morality, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture, Politics, Priesthood, Prophet, Violence | 34 Comments »

Classy Marriages

April 13, 2013
Classy Marriages

Pending the birth of Princess Kate’s baby, Lady Cosima Rose Alexandra Windsor is currently 24th in line for the British throne. Lady Cosima is the nearly three-year-old great granddaughter of a grandfather of the current queen. I didn’t know that, and I really wouldn’t care, but I did easily look it up, and I could do […]

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Posted in Church Policy, economics, General Conference, Mission, Morality, Mormon Belief, Politics, Singles | 39 Comments »

Sin is Not Separation

March 30, 2013
Sin is Not Separation

The Ten Commandments was one of the first Biblical epics to command a mass audience, and so my parents took me into downtown Detroit as a boy to be sure I saw it in its full widescreen glory in one of the few theaters capable of so screening it. The movie was well worth the […]

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Posted in Agency, Community of Christ, Doctrine, Jesus, Morality, Mormon Belief, War in Heaven | 14 Comments »

Remapping the Eternal Family

March 8, 2013
Remapping the Eternal Family

Human brains naturally use locations in space and time to make sense of events. Why should we expect eternal spirits to follow that protocol? The question has always bothered me. What follows is speculation about a different way of looking at the relationship between the physical and the spiritual than the Restoration faiths adopted in […]

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Posted in Mormon Belief, Polygamy, Race Relations, Science and Religion | 32 Comments »

CofChrist News Beat: World Conference Legislation

February 23, 2013
CofChrist News Beat: World Conference Legislation

Salt Lake City sees General Conference every six months. In the CofChrist, “World” Conference occurs every three years, and 2013 is the lucky year. A Community of Christ World Conference is far more of a legislative exercise than its Utah LDS analogue. It features worship, of course, and normally will have approval to changes and […]

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Posted in Agency, Church Policy, Community of Christ, Doctrine, General Conference, Mormon Culture | 20 Comments »

Can’t Anybody Here Make a Good Conspiracy Theory?

February 2, 2013
Can’t Anybody Here Make a Good Conspiracy Theory?

Mystery guest number 1 was never a practicing Catholic. Mystery guest number 2 never believed in Temple rites. Now, there’s a good conspiracy theory. Sometimes a conspiracy theory turns out to be true. There is even a class of crime for which people go to jail that starts out “conspiracy to commit…”. But the conspiracy theories […]

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Posted in America, Freedom, Morality, Mormon, Politics, Prophet, War in Heaven | 38 Comments »

Let Them Eat Platinum

January 19, 2013
Let Them Eat Platinum

Marie Antoinette couldn’t get her head around the concept that peasants might resent a lack of bread. I mean, look at her bedroom! So, eventually, her head was forced to observe the resentment in a more detached manner. The Versailles life-style was unsustainable, even if the people living in Versailles thought they could stall the […]

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Posted in America, debt, economics, money, Politics, Pride | 6 Comments »

Flattering Words

January 5, 2013
Flattering Words

Christmas Eve represents an immovable endpoint to the busiest time of my wife’s year. As a piano studio director who also runs a charitable foundation, projects and performances crowd into December. So, it has become “traditional” in our family to stagger exhausted to the Christmas holidays and semi-hibernate until after New Year’s Day in order […]

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Posted in Doctrine, Freedom, Morality, Mormon Belief | 7 Comments »

Pieces on Earth

December 22, 2012
Pieces on Earth

The response to trauma is instinctual, even if our instinctual responses are wired individually. God evolved our species’ instincts to do something fast –flee, fight, or freeze — because the lethal nature of most of the dangers that killed humans throughout history is immediately perceptible and requires immediate response. Instincts don’t do as well when […]

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Posted in Agency, America, Doctrine, Freedom, Morality, Violence | 7 Comments »

Why Mormons Will Inherit America

December 8, 2012
Why Mormons Will Inherit America

Well, not really. However, with recent reports that the US birthrate has fallen to a level not seen since 1920, one starts to speculate. As Pew’s research organization reports: “The U.S. birth rate dipped in 2011 to the lowest ever recorded, led by a plunge in births to immigrant women since the onset of the […]

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Posted in America, Church Policy, economics, Politics, Pride, Race Relations | 7 Comments »

Predictable Natural Law – Part 2

November 24, 2012
Predictable Natural Law – Part 2

In my last post on natural law, I focused on how changing minor “precepts” might make tremendous impacts on our theological understandings. I used cosmological models from general relativity to illustrate the point. Today, I want to look at things a little less, well, cosmically,  and review how changing scientific “precepts” over the last few […]

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Posted in America, Doctrine, economics, Morality, Mormon, Politics, Science and Religion | 11 Comments »

Predictable Natural Law – Part 1

November 10, 2012
Predictable Natural Law – Part 1

Mormonism comes with its own science. So does any brand of mainstream Christianity, but many such Christians are unaware of how their creeds embed the assumptions of the “scientists” and mathematicians of antiquity. They can consequently perform a mental jujitsu of preserving the religious idea as metaphor for modern times while ignoring the fact that […]

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Posted in Doctrine, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Science and Religion | 13 Comments »

De-empathizing Power

October 27, 2012
De-empathizing Power

THE DOCTOR: Colonel Manton, I want you to tell your men to run away. COLONEL MANTON: What? THE DOCTOR: Those words. “Run away.” I want you to be famous for those exact words. I want people to call you Colonel Runaway. I want children laughing outside your door, ’cause they’ve found the house of Colonel […]

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Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

If the Mormon Moment Lasts Four More Years?

October 13, 2012
If the Mormon Moment Lasts Four More Years?

Let’s face it. Although morality profoundly impacts American’s political views — making political and election issues an inevitable topic of attention for a Mormon blog — the idea of a Mormon being elected President of the United States has animated discussion on this site much more than would a contest between Barack Obama and a […]

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Posted in America, History, Mormon, Mormon Culture, Politics | 60 Comments »

Should Mormons Get With the Program?

September 29, 2012
Should Mormons Get With the Program?

Not the program you might think. Rather, the kind of program some people had in mind for Salman Rushdie when he pointed out the contradictions of “The Satanic Verses”. Or, perhaps that should be pogrom, since there are death penalties involved. Certainly, Mark Steyn is one who has had his proverbial skin in the game, […]

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Posted in Agency, America, Freedom, Morality, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Politics, understanding, Violence | 30 Comments »

There are Wars and There are WARS

September 16, 2012
There are Wars and There are WARS

Unable to sleep a few nights ago, I sought mind-deadening through cable TV. I chanced upon a movie I thought would do the job — a murder mystery set in a mountain abbey in 14th Century Italy. I didn’t get what I expected. Instead, the movie, The Name of the Rose, starring Sean Connery and […]

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Posted in America, Europe, Faith, Freedom, History, Israel, Morality, Politics, understanding, Violence | 18 Comments »

2016: A Movie Review

September 1, 2012
2016: A Movie Review

My wife seldom takes me to a movie, and never to a documentary.  So I was truly amazed last Sunday when she impulsively bought tickets to the documentary 2016: Obama’s America for a showing less than three hours in the future. I was already familiar with the books on which the documentary was based, and hadn’t […]

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Posted in America, Politics, Race Relations | 35 Comments »

Reflections on “Blowing Up the World”

August 18, 2012
Reflections on “Blowing Up the World”

I have been personally (and later professionally) interested in the extent to which mathematics could help forecast historical trends ever since I read the fiction of Isaac Asimov way back in the 1960’s. When I shared my first office at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory with a staff meteorologist working on air quality dispersion […]

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Posted in Agency, Faith, Freedom, Israel, Morality, Science and Religion, Violence | 17 Comments »

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